In May of last year I wrote about Mathematical Reasoning Level A and how we are going to use it as our math curriculum for the year. Well, my plans fell apart pretty quickly. My daughter was not at all interested in any activity involving putting a pen to paper, and I didn’t want to make her do something that she was not interested in. We still covered most of the material presented in Level A (Kindergarten Math) through math games, math books and Dreambox Math. I was excited, however, to get a chance to receive Mathematical Reasoning Level B (First Grade) for review from Timberdoodle. After looking through the book I decided to use Level B and fill the gaps as needed with material from Level A. I usually let my daughter choose 2 pages from the book and pick 1 or 2 pages myself. We had a lot of progress during my winter break when Smarty could do math in the morning in her pajamas and focus on her work.
One of my reasoning for selecting this particular book for review and picking up Mathematical Reasoning Level A last year was the promise of not just drills but also teaching students to think logically and analytically through unconventional exercises included in these books like Thinker Doodles, Mind Benders and “Think About It” exercises. The publisher of these books, Critical Thinking Press, has separate books with these exercises. We own one of them called Can You Find Me, and Smarty really enjoyed solving logical challenges in that book. Alas, Mathematical Reasoning Level B had only a few of those unconventional exercises – most of the book is focused on traditional “numbers and operations” math. Overall my verdict is this:
- 1. Good coverage of material – the table of contents spans two pages and includes Odd/Even, Number Line, Addition, Temperature, Money, Real World Problems and many other topics.
- 2. Bright graphics – I admit that in this day and age I prefer full color textbooks and workbooks to black-and-white versions.
- 3. Unconventional exercises (see above, I just wish there were more of them).
- 1. The structure of the book drives me crazy. Yes, I get it – it’s a spiral method. However, exercises seem to change without any logic and any warning. The suggestion in the book is to do pages in order, but I get stressed without seeing how one exercise is related to another, and my daughter seems baffled too.
- 2. I kept thinking looking through the book that there must be some sort of companion textbook or a teacher manual similar to Singapore Math, but I don’t think there is one. I don’t think that new concepts are introduced in enough depth in this book. Experienced math teachers (or math enthusiasts like myself) might get by and pull other resources to introduce new concepts, but I wouldn’t recommend this book as a core math curriculum for homeschooling. However, Timberdoodle offers variety of homeschooling math resources including well-regarded Horizons and Miquon Math curriculums.
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Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team, the Mathematical Reasoning Level B book was given to me free of charge. IAll opinions expressed in this post are unbiased and my own.
I am linking this post to Math Links hosted by Joyful Learner.